$7m in­jec­tion for new health cen­tre

The Northern Advocate - - Front Page - Peter de Graaf

A new health cen­tre bring­ing GPs, out­pa­tient clin­ics and den­tal ser­vices un­der one roof will be built in Kawakawa af­ter an an­nounce­ment this morn­ing of $7.1 mil­lion in Gov­ern­ment fund­ing.

The out­pa­tients and pri­mary care fa­cil­ity will com­plete the re­build of Bay of Is­lands Hos­pi­tal, the first phase of which was opened in Septem­ber with a price tag of $14m.

To­day’s an­nounce­ment puts to rest un­cer­tainty over the re­build, which was orig­i­nally a joint ven­ture be­tween the North­land Dis­trict Health Board and Nga¯ti Hine Health Trust.

The health board built a new ac­ci­dent and emer­gency cen­tre and a 20-bed med­i­cal ward, while the trust was to have built the ad­join­ing health cen­tre. Ear­lier this year, how­ever, Nga¯ti Hine pulled out of the project, cit­ing spi­ralling con­struc­tion costs.

Health board chief ex­ec­u­tive Nick Cham­ber­lain said he was thrilled for the peo­ple of the Mid North.

The health cen­tre had to be scaled back from the orig­i­nal Nga¯ti Hine Health Trust de­sign, with about half the area and fewer ser­vices. How­ever, it would still house all Kawakawa and Mo­erewa GPs, out­pa­tient clin­ics, oral health and pos­si­bly re­nal (kid­ney) ser­vices.

Nga¯ti Hine Health Trust would still be the main ten­ant and was work­ing closely with the health board on the plans, Cham­ber­lain said. He hoped de­sign ten­ders would be com­pleted in the first half of 2019 and the cen­tre would open in late 2020.

Health Min­is­ter David Clark said hav­ing GPs and other pri­mary care clin­i­cians in one place would make it eas­ier for lo­cals to get the most ap­pro­pri­ate care and treat­ment.

“I have of­ten spo­ken about the chal­lenges we face in the health sys­tem and the need to change how we de­liver ser­vices to those in most need. Mak­ing Kthe most of pri­mary care is a key part of this,” he said.

He wel­comed the in­volve­ment of Nga¯ti Hine, which was “ex­actly the sort of lo­cal col­lab­o­ra­tion” needed to im­prove health out­comes for their peo­ple.

“Health sta­tis­tics tell us that we have a lot of work to do to im­prove out­comes for the peo­ple of the North. This de­vel­op­ment is a clear sig­nal that the Gov­ern­ment is com­mit­ted to do­ing just that,” Clark said.

When Clark vis­ited Kawakawa in Septem­ber, health board bosses put the case for the new health cen­tre to him, but at that time he would com­mit pub­licly only to fund­ing it within the term of the cur­rent Gov­ern­ment.

Cham­ber­lain was pleased the de­ci­sion had come so soon and in­tended to move the project along as quickly as pos­si­ble, be­fore build­ing costs rose any more. All health board sites around the dis­trict had now had sig­nif­i­cant up­grades and in­vest­ment.

There was no word yet on fund­ing for a re­build of Whanga¯rei Hos­pi­tal.

“One step at a time,” he said.

"Health sta­tis­tics tell us that we have a lot of work to do to im­prove out­comes for the peo­ple of the North." Health Min­is­ter David Clark


Health board chief ex­ec­u­tive Nick Cham­ber­lain (right) shows Health Min­is­ter David Clark an artist’s im­pres­sion of the pri­mary care cen­tre dur­ing the open­ing of phase one of the Bay of Is­lands Hos­pi­tal re­build.


Artist’s im­pres­sion of the new pri­mary care fa­cil­ity (right), along­side the new (mid­dle) and old hos­pi­tal build­ings (left).

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